Though its obvious, if you talk about 100% accuracy in measuring goals, nothing can guarantee you plentiful precision. However, that doesnt mean you shouldnt even try.
According to the goal-setting theory by American psychologist Edwin Locke,
Goals need to have the following dimensions: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback, and complexity. Goals need to be clear and measurable.
A lot of managers have agreed upon the idea with minor changes. However, they still need to figure out a better way to set goals that can be measured without any prejudice.
In goal management, asking about the best way to measure goals is not a good question at all. Every goal and the goal performer are unique and need to be measured distinctively based on the nature of the goal and the competencies of the performer. There cannot be a single formula that can be applied to all goals to measure the exact level of performance. Even then, you need to have a point of reference to let you know where to start.
To know either your employees are performing excellent, average or below average, you need to establish a measuring stick that helps you to manage performance (by stick, I never meant the fairy godmothers stick but in case if she offers you a single wish, perhaps that would be to have a magic stick to measure your employees performance accurately.)
I would categorize goals into two major types:
- The one with quantitative deliverables
- The one with qualitative deliverables
Goals falling in both categories definitely follow the SMART technique, which says
- Measurable (certainly, the ones falling in the second category follow the same rule)
- Relevant and
1. Measuring goals with quantifiable deliverables
I want to save $100 by the end of next month by cutting down on my shopping expenses.
Yes, it is a quantitative goal with quantitative deliverables. And, if you could save $100 by the end of a month by decreasing the number of visits to the market, Congratulations! You have achieved a quantifiable result. The goal is achieved and the performance can be measured easily.
2. Measuring goals with Qualitative deliverables
I want to improve my teams attitude toward the new change implemented in the organization by the end of this year, which is a qualitative goal. The deliverable is; the enhanced behavior. How can you measure someones behavior?
$20 behavior is improved by the end of the first week. No! It doesnt sound good at all.
When you talk about measuring qualitative goals it clearly means observation.
However, there are goals, which may not have a quantifiable deliverable. Its not an easy task to measure qualitative goals. It demands you to be more observant. Here are some ways that can help you measure qualitative goals.
- Make the deliverables clear: My team will show up in all the training sessions related to the new system implemented in the organization and will shift completely to the modern procedures by the end of this year. Showing up in all training sessions and shifting to new procedures are clear deliverables that can be measured easily.
- Set a benchmark: The benchmark you set to measure a goal will show how you can challenge a group of motivated peers to achieve more than they have decided to achieve. On the other hand, its an easy way to measure your own performance.
- Time: Schedule is another important parameter to measure qualitative goals. My team took two months to learn all the new procedures implanted in the organization whereas a group of my peers took two and a half months for the same action.
- Quality of goal performed: The training sessions my team attended were fruitful, and they learned how to use the new information system. They are now using the information system quite efficiently with a minor number of errors.
The most important rule of goal management is when you set a goal make sure you have quantifiable deliverables. Being a reviewer, would make your life easier. On the other hand, goal performers would be more accountable for the results. Measuring performance could be difficult for qualitative goals but the above-mentioned tactics (separately or together) can be of great help.
Angela loves writing about performance management systems, employee productivity and retention, employee engagement and recognition, 360 feedbacks and much more!